10.01.2008 0

The Nanny State Strikes Again

  • On: 10/21/2008 20:36:55
  • In: Government Transparency
  • If the Big Mac and plastic bag crackdown at the hands of the nattering, nagging Los Angeles City Council wasn’t enough to drive America up the wall, consider New York City for a moment. If you happen to own a retail store in the Big Apple, you better start deciding what you value more: open doors or air-conditioning.

    A recent editorial published by the New York Post describes how the New York City council is about to approve an ordinance barring city store owners from using in-store air-conditioning while their store’s doors are open. This, of course, is to be done in the holy name of the environment.

    The editorial, appropriately scathing and mocking in tone, points out the ridiculous ways in which the city council has elevated—or, perhaps, lowered would be more apt—itself to the authoritarian role of “Nanny Council”:

    “Telling New Yorkers how to run their lives is just about the only thing council members seem interested in doing these days (at least when they’re not busy trading taxpayer-funded pork projects for political chits).

    “So it’d be of great interest whether they might fulfill the same carbon-cutting agenda simply by shutting their mouths once in a while.”

    As usual, the government is trying to assert itself in realms in which it has no place trespassing. Again typical, all of this usurpation of private individual rights is done under the increasingly dubious banner of “eco-friendly” carbon footprint reduction.

    The New York City Council ought to get back to more pressing issues—such as preventing murder, combating drug trafficking, and fixing the dismal school system—and let the free market handle lilliputian issues like air-conditioning.

    Any level headed store owner with an iota of common sense will realize that the more he or she runs the air-conditioning with the doors simultaneously open, the higher the energy bill will be at the end of the month. The direct correlation is obvious. Eventually, store owners will run their air conditioning with discretion if they also desire to leave their doors open. All this, of course, will be done for sake of saving money—not protecting the environment. And in the end, it will do both.

    It’s not a carbon-footprint issue at all.

    If that wasn’t enough to make you laugh—or scream, depending on your outlook—the editorial goes on to point out council member Domenic Recchia’s new proposed measure to regulate the sale of grapes and peanuts. Under his plan, food vendors who fail to warn customers that certain foods present a choking hazard for children would be hit with a $250 fine.

    At least Recchia and the other council members aren’t claiming this helps the environment. They’re too busy swimming in the alimentary canal.

    Regardless of whether it is under the guise of global warming or less-ignoble reasons like choking prevention, the Nanny State government of New York City has simply gone too far. And, as Los Angeles and other situations have confirmed, this is not an isolated incident.

    Thankfully enough, city newspapers around the country have taken notice of their respective governments’ overwhelming desire to encroach. As we previously reported to you in “Big Governments Coming Under Scrutiny,” editorial boards of the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, and the New York Post have all had a hand in calling out their city governments for overstepping their boundaries in various ways. Likewise, the thinly veiled sarcasm underlying the Associated Press’s reporting of the Los Angeles fast food and plastic bag bans also denoted a certain apprehension towards wanton Big Government expansionism.

    The press is to be commended for their efforts to raise awareness on troubling issues such as the ones described above. As Thomas Carlyle pointed out over a hundred years ago, the press is to act in its capacity as the Fourth Estate, serving the people as the guardians of democracy and the defenders of the public interest.

    It is reassuring to know that the Fourth Estate is still focused on the issues, especially when the august members of the other three have opted out for a neurotic obsession with the Nanny State.


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